"The deeper into woods, into nature I get, the more connected I feel to the world."
Nika Danilova had to go home; both to craft her harrowing new album Okovi, but also to avoid self-destruction.
The spellbinding electronic artist recorded her fifth album as Zola Jesus nestled in the woods of rural Wisconsin where she grew up. “The deeper into woods, into nature I get, the more connected I feel to the world,” Danilova says on this week’s #AlternativeFacts podcast. After exploring mainstream accessibility with 2014’s Taiga, the 28-year old Danilova left Seattle, rejoined Sacred Bones Records -- the iconic outsider label that first discovered her -- and built a house near her family, on their land near Merrill, Wisconsin. But Okovi (meaning "shackles" in Slavic) doesn’t sound like retreating; it’s a gripping, core-rattling listen, one that maps out new territory in her habitat of operatic vocals, riveting strings, and dark, daunting beats.
“With Okovi, I was trying to recreate that feeling when I’m at home, in nature, when I’m feeling most at peace,” she says. “I was trying to find some sort of core, an anchor with my music because so much chaos was happening around me.”